I'm talking about fundamentalism, of course. Not just fundamentalist Christianity (although that's the sphere I use as an example). Fundamentalist anything. And please note that I didn't include "go to" as the 4th and 5th words in the title. Like a People's Temple survivor once said, no one sets out to join a cult. In other words, no rational, intelligent, healthy person says, "I want to shut down my brain and critical thought and join such and such group". It doesn't work that way. Instead, you (hopefully) have a functional mind and healthy conscience, you get exposed to a group or person and their message, they work their mojo on you, and it's "RIP brain", because your mind and critical thought are now the enemy of the group or teaching you've become immersed in, and what they offer is now a drug to you.
You don't accept the teaching? It's simple. You don't have enough "faith". Translation: You need to stop thinking, you godless infidel, and do more of our drug.
My opinions and commentary on fundamentalism and evangelical Christianity at large are often met with "Well you aren't even a real Christian" in some form or other. A real Christian? Hmm. I think I'm gonna borrow the idea of a FB friend. From now on, when someone asks me if I'm a Christian, I'm gonna respond with "Tell me what you consider to be a Christian, and I'll tell you whether or not that's what I am." That seems the most direct path to me, what with so much of what passes as "Christianity" being things I want no part of. I don't want my mind to die just so I can wear a particular label. I realize there has to be some aspect of faith involved for it to actually be "faith", but that doesn't mean God instructs or requires me to be a dummy.
Between the election process histrionics of the candidates and their supporters, Kirk Cameron's new movie "Monumental" (should've left out the "monu" part), the recent solar storms, and probably a full moon or two, I've seen a lot of dead minds in recent weeks. Brains so blatantly necrotic when they don't need to be. My old favorite 2nd Chronicles 7:14 has made its usual rounds, stirring up cheers, praise, and emotionalism from religious addicts just like it's supposed to. And, no one is happy when you try to take their drug away. Critical thought is to the religious addict what the DEA is to a drug cartel.
A couple of things I've been chewing on a bit...
If I were to tell someone, "Love me or I'll kill you!", I'd rightfully be locked away in either a prison or a mental hospital...yet we're ok with a version of God who says that? Seriously? We're ok with that? That IS the version of God promoted, worshiped, and "loved" by fundamentalist Christianity. I don't pretend to have all the answers as to the nature of God (because I have few - although I believe in a God of love), but I know "Love me or I'll kill you!" isn't something I'd say to another human, EVER, with or without the exclamation point, and I'd like to believe that God is better than me. Not worse. Not equal to. Better. A million times better. As I've said before, we'd better hope that the OT writers misunderstood and misrepresented God as much as we do today, cause the picture they painted is of a narcissistic sociopath with extreme insecurities. There's no getting around that. I have to kill my brain to get around that.
Then, there's the issue of "hell" and eternal torment. The sad thing about hell is that fundamental literalists gloss right over what the literal reading of their own bibles has to say about hell. NO ONE will spend eternity in hell, but hell spends eternity EMPTY - Revelation 20:13-14. According to that passage (taken literally), "hell" gets judged before any entity which had previously occupied it ever gets judged.
I know that the NT tells us after death comes the judgment. Really, though, that doesn't tell us a lot. In saying this I'm not endorsing Rob Bell, cause I haven't read his book and know very little about his teaching, but I do agree with him that anything beyond death puts us firmly into the realm of speculation. Firmly, entirely, and any number of other descriptives. Think about it this way - If you were to ask me "What will happen when I die?", I can answer that question less definitively than I could answer "What would it be like to visit Japan?"...and I've never been to Japan. BUT, I do have photos of Japan, videos of Japan, can access solid contemporary AND ancient literature and information about Japan, know people who've been to Japan, and know some Japanese people. That's FAR more evidence than what I have about the afterlife. The same is true of any "Love me or I'll kill you!"-esque preacher, so why would you take their word about YOUR eternity? They don't know anything more about it than you do. As someone who trusts in a good God, I can only rely on His Spirit within me to direct my knowledge on a personal level. There's really nothing more I can offer someone regarding eternity. I have hope, and I don't feel the need to "back it up with scripture"...or the need to defend it at all. Frankly, "scripture" would in many cases make me feel less hopeful about the nature of God, and I'm not willing to give up my brain to accept a lesser version of God.
When I see people so desperately and neurotically need there to be an eternal, tormenting hell, I know that religious addiction is involved, rearing its head most often in the form of either fear or an extreme need to win and see the losers punished. That isn't healthy. That isn't even decent.
If God isn't a million times better than you, why would you worship Him?
Resurrect your mind and think about it.